Apple Says 2011 MacBook Pro No Longer Eligible For ‘Video Issues’ Repair Program

Apple says the following models are no longer eligible for its MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues:

• 15-inch, Early 2011
• 15-inch, Late 2011
• 17-inch, Early 2011
• 17-inch, Late 2011

The following MacBook Pro models remain eligible, so long as they were purchased less than four years ago:

• Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012
• Retina, 15 inch, Early 2013

Apple launched the repair program in February 2015 to address a "small percentage" of MacBook Pro models that "may exhibit distorted video, no video, or unexpected system restarts," allegedly due to faulty GPUs.

The program expired on December 31, 2016, but it's still in effect for eligible models up to four years from their original date of sale.

A support document on Apple's website says the affected models were sold between February 2011 and December 2013. Use the "Check Your Coverage" tool on Apple's website to determine if a particular model is eligible.

The video issues impacted many customers, prompting a class-action lawsuit against Apple and an online petition with over 40,000 signatures. Affected users often experience visual banding or malfunctions on the screen, particularly when watching HD videos or using pro apps such as Final Cut Pro X.

Apple will continue to repair Mid 2012 or Early 2013 models, free of charge. Affected customers can call an Apple Store to schedule a Genius Bar appointment, visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or call Apple Support and request a postage paid box to mail in the MacBook Pro to a local Apple Repair Center.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Tags: repair program, Apple Support
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Neutral)

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Apple Support App Gains Option to Schedule Repairs From Authorized Service Providers

Apple today updated its Apple Support app to version 1.1, adding several new features to enhance the app and make it easier for users to obtain support for their Apple products.

Starting today, the Apple Support app can be used to schedule repairs at participating Apple Authorized Service Providers, giving users more options beyond the Apple Genius Bar. Scheduling repairs through an authorized service provider has previously been available on the support website, but now it is also an option in the app.


The Genius Bars in Apple's own retail stores can have wait times of several days, but Apple Authorized Service Providers are often able to help customers much sooner. New to the app is an option to filter AASP locations by mobile carrier to find relevant carrier stores that can provide repairs.

Along with the AASP option, Apple Support app users can now make Genius Bar reservations at Apple Stores in China, Hong Kong, Macao, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates.

Apple Support is also gaining a simplified authentication process and support for iOS 10 rich notifications for chat, making it possible for users to reply to incoming Apple Support chat messages directly from the lock screen.
What's New
- Schedule repairs at participating Apple Authorized Service Providers.
- Make Genius Bar reservations at Apple Stores in China, Hong Kong, Macao, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates.
- Filter locations by mobile carrier.
- Simplified authentication process.
- Supports iOS 10 rich notifications for chat.
- Bug fixes and improvements.
Apple Support first launched in the Netherlands in November of 2016, before expanding to the United States the following month. Since then, the app has expanded to many additional countries across the world.

The app, which is designed to give iPad and iPhone owners an easy way to get support for their devices, closely mimics the design of Apple's dedicated support website.

Apple Support can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Apple Tops ‘Tech Support Showdown’ List for Third Consecutive Year

Apple has topped Laptop Mag's Tech Support Showdown list for the third year in a row, receiving praise as "the best tech support in the business," and beating out nine other computer-making companies in the process. Laptop Mag said that its list is aimed at helping customers see who has the most reliable and clear customer service in the tech industry.

To conduct the research, the magazine sent reporters undercover to make calls, query support chat online, and ask questions on social media, and accumulated data on the following top ten notebook makers: Apple, Microsoft, Acer, Razer, Dell, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Samsung, and MSI. Each company was given a grade on a 100-point scale, and Laptop Mag weighted 60 points towards online support and 40 points toward phone support.

For Apple's winning spot, the company received a 56 for its web support score and a 37 for its phone support score, resulting in an overall mark of 93 for the Cupertino company's tech support in 2017.


Laptop Mag went more in-depth about its experience with Apple support in various forms, discussing a six minute response time from the @AppleSupport Twitter account and a positive, snappy experience with the new Apple Support iOS app. The site also put Apple to the test by calling three separate customer service reps to test their knowledge of the newest changes to macOS and the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro.
Call 1: Hayley then instructed me to disable iCloud Drive, and explained how to keep a local copy of the files. During the 2 minutes it took to download the files, I chatted with Hayley about the weather down in Florida, as he was positive and easy to talk to.

At the end of our chat, I asked if there was some way to turn iCloud Desktop and Documents off without disabling iCloud Drive. Hayley said there was not, which is, unfortunately, not the case. The call took 8 minutes in total.

Call 2: My next call connected me to Frank in Oregon, who explained that the physical fn key makes the Touch Bar show the Function keys. Frank also showed me how to set specific apps to use the Function keys in the Touch Bar, and he needed to place me on hold to ask colleagues if I could do the same for Finder.

After telling me that there was no such option, Frank directed me to a feedback page where I could ask Apple to add this option in a future version. In total, the call took 15 minutes, but Frank solved my main question in only 3 minutes.

Call 3: My last call connected me with the upbeat and chipper Letasha, who showed me the icon in the dock and menu bar that you click to activate Siri. Before we concluded, Letasha explained how to change the keyboard command used to start Siri. The call lasted 7 minutes.

On average, it took Apple's reps 6 minutes per call to get answers — a minute less than its time last year.
Ultimately, Laptop Mag noted that while the customer service reps might have a few spots of incorrect knowledge about Apple's software and hardware, they still "provided solutions in a speedy and positive manner." While Apple's web score was unrivaled at 56, the company's phone score of 37 was beat out by Acer at 38 points. In total, Acer came in second with a total score of 88 points, making it the "top-rated Windows PC vendor for support" and gaining ground on Apple's number one spot.
If Apple wants to improve its support, it should ensure support techs learn about all of the new features so that they can give completely accurate answers to questions on topics such as iCloud Documents. Its Twitter account could also improve by providing answers directly, instead of linking to posts where the content is found. Overall, though, Apple offers the best support of any laptop manufacturer, as it has for many years.
Last November, Apple won the "Gold" #Customer award for its helpful responses from @AppleSupport on Twitter. According to Twitter, Apple ranked #1 among support accounts for average engagements and average engagements for followers, racking up 150,000 likes and retweets since its launch in March 2016.

On Twitter, users can ask Apple questions between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time, and the company's support team normally responds within a few minutes. Although Laptop Mag said that it didn't award Apple "any points for finally creating a Twitter support account," the site noted that it's one of the best parts of Apple's expansive customer support system and it applauded "the team running that account for the timely, helpful replies."

Check out Laptop Mag's full report on Apple's customer service performance right here.


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Apple Support App Now Available in 22 Countries

The official Apple Support app for iPhone and iPad launched in additional countries this week, including but not limited to Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The app first launched in the Netherlands in November and expanded to the United States last month.

apple-support-app
The app mirrors Apple's support website, providing users with a list of their Apple devices, options to receive support by phone, chat, or email, and the ability to schedule a Genius Bar appointment or repair with an Apple Authorized Service Provider. The app also features how-to articles and other helpful information.

The app is now available in 22 countries around the world as planned:
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Liechtenstein
  • Macau
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Apple Support is a free download on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone and iPad.


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‘Apple Support’ App Launches in U.S. App Store

One month after debuting in the Netherlands, Apple's specialized Apple Support app has gone live in the U.S. App Store, reports TechCrunch. The app gives Apple users an easy way to get support for their devices on the go.

applesupport
The app is designed to mimic Apple's dedicated support website, providing a list of Apple devices owned by the user and giving them access to documentation for those devices. The app also allows users to schedule repairs in an Apple retail store or natively chat with Apple's support staff. Once they conclude their chat session, users can see their recent support history.

The Apple Support app was first rumored last November, when Sonny Dickson debuted screenshots of the app early in its development.

Apple Support is available in the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Apple Warns Customers to Beware of Counterfeit Power Adapters and Batteries

apple-chargerNearly two months after filing a lawsuit against a firm selling counterfeit Apple power adapters and Lightning cables on Amazon, Apple has updated its website to advise customers to beware of counterfeit parts.

Apple warns some counterfeit and third-party power adapters and batteries could pose safety risks, and recommends customers visit an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider for genuine parts.
Beware of counterfeit parts

Some counterfeit and third party power adapters and batteries may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues.

To ensure you receive a genuine Apple battery during a battery replacement, we recommend visiting an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. If you need a replacement adapter to charge your Apple device, we recommend getting an Apple power adapter.
As revealed in its lawsuit against counterfeiter Mobile Star LLC, Apple found almost 90% of so-called "genuine" Apple products and accessories it purchased from Amazon in a nine-month period were actually counterfeit. U.S. certification company UL later found 99% of fake Apple chargers sold online fail basic safety tests.

Following the lawsuit, an Amazon spokesperson informed MacRumors it has "zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits" on its website. "We work closely with manufacturers and brands, and pursue wrongdoers aggressively."

Amazon reportedly plans to crack down on counterfeit products sold through its website next year by creating a registry to prevent fake goods from being listed for sale. Apple could sign up for the registry, for example, and merchants would then have to obtain official brand permission before they can sell products and accessories.


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